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From the light from the sun to the water in the ground, how plants respond and adapt to their environment is a question with million dollar answers. Getting these answers is becoming even more imperative as climate change is becoming more and more pronounced. How do we feed a global population with less water, more light, and a multitude of stressors?
Growth vs Value? What can human behaviour tell us about plants and drought?
Jim Stevens (Lecturer)
Humans seem hard-wired to adopt one of two strategies about the future: the ‘growth (go for broke!)’ or ‘value (safety first)’ strategies. Most crop species adopt a ‘growth’ strategy. With the threat of greater drought even in the UK, will the ‘value’ strategy become more useful? The value strategy implies lower crop yields. What does that mean for global food supplies? This talk will discuss what observing human behaviour can tell us about crop yields under an ever variable climate.
What Will Happen to our Crops in a Hotter Planet?
Dr Patricia Lopez (Senior Research Officer)
Climate change is now an undeniable reality, but, how will this affect the crops that we depend on for food? Higher temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations will have a strong impact in yield performance, and biotechnology can help us ensure crop yields are maintained in a hotter and more populated planet. I will describe studies showing the impact of increased temperatures and carbon dioxide on the yield of soybean. Additionally, I’ll present some results on how biotechnology and genetic manipulation can be used to sustain photosynthetic rates and crop yields under these scenarios.
Why Too Much of an Antioxidant can be Bad (if you are a Plant)?
Professor Philip Mullineaux (Head of School and Professor)
Antioxidants are good for us –so everybody tells us. We obtain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, in our diet. Plants make vitamin C and many more antioxidants; one good reason we should eat our veggies. But plants do not make antioxidants for us, but for themselves, for protection against free radical damage during photosynthesis. So more antioxidants must be better to make stronger more productive plants? No! This short talk is about why too much of an antioxidant can be bad for a plant and what the result taught us about how plants sense their environment.